Realcoin Rebrands as 'Tether' to Avoid Altcoin Association

Brock Pierce-led startup Realcoin has clarified its purpose with a new name as the project enters private beta.

AccessTimeIconNov 20, 2014 at 5:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:20 a.m. UTC
Tether, realcoin
Tether, realcoin

Realcoin has officially announced it will rebrand as 'Tether' as it opens for private beta.

First revealed in July, the Isle of Man and Hong Kong-based company said the name change is an attempt to better express its true functionality as a crypto 2.0 project that uses tokens to move currencies over the blockchain.

Speaking to CoinDesk, CEO Reeve Collins emphasized this line of reasoning, stating:

"We're not an altcoin, we're not our own blockchain. We're a service, a token that represents dollars. Our speciality at Tether is currencies on the blockchain, so Tether means a digital tie to a real-world asset and the digital assets that we're focused on is currencies."

In addition to the strategic repositioning, Tether also announced new partnerships in the bitcoin space, including agreements with Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, as well as fellow Brock Pierce-backed startups Expresscoin, GoCoin and ZenBox.

"Our angle to potential partners is, it doesn't cost any money and it makes your service more robust, as you can now offer currency as well as bitcoin. You can offer crypto as well as real-world currencies, so we're hoping it will be widely accepted," Collins added.

To begin, Tether will utilize the Mastercoin protocol, an exchange layer built on top of bitcoin that allows for asset exchange. Tether co-founder Craig Sellars also notably serves as the chief technology officer for Mastercoin.

Dollars on the blockchain

Tether is the latest and perhaps most high-profile project to attempt to use the blockchain's functionality as a ledger to move digital tokens that represent real currency.

For example, early crypto 2.0 platform BitShares has notably launched BitShares X, a family of decentralised autonomous companies (DACs) that issued its asset-backed token, BitUSD.

Collins positioned Tether as a more simplistic solution than those offered by its competitors, noting that its offerings, USTether (US+), EuroTether (EU+) and YenTether (JP+) cease to exist when they are redeemed with the service.

"These assets are created and destroyed on the fly. These are purely digital dollars. This is just representing dollars in our bank account," Collins explained.

Collins indicated that the number of Tether tokens in circulation will always equate to the dollars in its bank account, adding that there are no pegs or formulas that complicate the process for its partners.

"When you want to redeem them, we issue you cash," he said.

USTether, Collins suggested, will be available immediately to those accepted into the beta, while EuroTether and YenTether will be "done very soon".

Foundational ecosystem layer

Collins went on to express his hope that Tether would become a foundational component of the bitcoin ecosystem, one that gains traction due to the stability of its tokens.

"It's simply a dollar that works on the blockchain, and works with all [our clients'] services," Collins continued. "Their services work with bitcoin and now they can work with Tether."

Eventually, Collins explained Tether will seek to make money by charging a small fee to issue tokens, but noted that it intends to maximize the volume of these assets to keep costs for clients low.

"If we're controlling billions of dollars in circulation, then we'll make a half a percent, we'll invest that money," he said.

For the long term, Collins suggested that Tether hopes to grow to form the backbone of government-backed cryptocurrencies, the blockchain-based alternatives to projects like Ecuador's planned digital dollar and the proposed E-Peso project in the Philippines.

Image via Tether


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